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Jesse Rathgeber

Music Building
MSC 7301
880 S. Main
Harrisonburg, Virginia 22807
(630) 267-3536

To whom it may concern,

I write with great excitement in recommending Ms. Fernanda Azevedo for a position as a music
teacher in your school division. In my experiences working with Ms. Azevedo at James Madison
University, I have found her to be a reliable and responsible worker, a responsive and dedicated
leader, an expressive musician, and a careful and imaginative thinker. In addition to these qualities,
Ms. Azevedo has cultivated a great deal of skills related to pedagogy, directing, and ensemble
management which would situate her to be successful in multiple music teaching contexts.

I have had the pleasure to work with Ms. Azevedo as she engaged in numerous roles during her time
at James Madison University. As a student in the class I taught, MUED271: Music Education –
Professional Practice, I found her to be inquisitive regarding innovative approaches to music
teaching and driven to develop broad knowledges and skills about these approaches alongside
more “traditional” approaches. She was able to see how innovative and traditional ideas were
complimentary to one another in order to envision inclusive and engaging music learning and
teaching. Because of this, I invited Ms. Azevedo to be a peer teacher/teaching assistant in two of my
courses the following year: MUED206: Instrumental Methods for Vocal Majors and MUED273.
Working with her as a co-teacher provided me a chance to see Ms. Azevedo’s strong planning skills
and decision-making processes first hand. She proved to be a highly competent and thoughtful co-
teacher that made use of her flexible musicianship in these settings. I was able to see her leadership
abilities in these settings as well as when she was on leadership for the National Association for
Music Education Collegiate chapter, a student organization for which I am the faculty advisor. She
worked hard as a leader to delegate projects and duties, to remain organized and help others to do
the same, and to draw on ideas and presenters from inside and outside of JMU to complement the
music teacher education program.

I have also had the honor to work with Ms. Azevedo as a research co-advisor and co-presenter
through which I have observed how careful of a thinker and engaged of a public speaker she is.
During the Summer of 2017, Ms. Azevedo worked with a group of her peers and I to develop an
ukulele building and informal learning session and shared it at the international IMPACT conference
held at New York University. This past year, I provided advising as she initiated, wrote, and shared a
meaningful and well-attended session on gender and band at the Virginia Music Education
Association Conference in November of 2018. It is rare that undergraduates are selected to present
their own sessions at this conference, and it shows the importance and thoughtfulness of her
presentations that it was selected and that so many people attended.

In addition to these experiences working with Ms. Azevedo directly, I have observed her develop
herself through numerous roles in the Marching Royal Dukes (e.g., drum major and section leader),
in Sigma Alpha Iota, as an Admissions Tour Guide, and Summer Band Camp Counselor at JMU. I
could undoubtedly go on for countless pages listing Ms. Azevedo’s leadership positions, scholarly
works, musical successes, and community engagements, but, simply put, Nanda Azevedo is a
unique and well-prepared music educator whose presence will be a benefit for your school division
and the local community. I am happy to discuss her qualifications at more length and am at your
services to support Ms. Azevedo.


Jesse Rathgeber, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, School of Music
Associate Director, Center for Inclusive Music Engagement
Coordinator, Music and Human Services
James Madison University